R.A. The Rugged Man


R.A. The Rugged Man is one of the most fascinating figures in hip-hop history.  His career spans decades, and defies simple narratives.  The Rugged Man has been an up-and-coming star, an industry outcast banished and forgotten, an underground cult hero, an independent success story, and an influential master of the art form.  He can obliterate rappers with ferocious battle rhymes, craft heartfelt personal songs fans can relate to, offend sensitive listeners with shocking vulgarity, challenge corrupt politicians and corporations, paint pictures with captivating storytelling, and deliver jaw-dropping flows that prove his lyrical skills are unmatched.  He’s also worked with a staggering number of hip-hop’s most respected artists, including legends like The Notorious B.I.G.Wu-TangTech N9neRakimMobb DeepTalib KweliKool G RapPublic EnemyBrother Ali, and many more.  And while others struggle to maintain a foothold in the ever-changing rap landscape, R.A. The Rugged Man is the rare artist who has become more relevant with time, with each new album more compelling than the last.

Originally from Long Island’s Suffolk County, R.A. was raised by his father, a Vietnam veteran whose exposure to Agent Orange left two of R.A.’s siblings with severe disabilities.  After building a reputation as one of the most talented unsigned MCs on the scene, he sparked a bidding war between several major labels.  R.A. eventually signed to Jive Records, but his outspoken defiance and reckless behavior spelled the end of that deal and left him banned from venues, labels, and recording studios.  The Rugged Man re-emerged in the late 90s, pioneering the indie rap hustle by pressing up his own 12” singles and contributing to compilations from the celebrated Rawkus Records.  He earned his first Gold record for his work on the WWE Aggression album, and his music was featured on the hit video game Tony Hawk’s Underground, which sold millions of copies.  R.A. then unleashed his seminal independent album Die, Rugged Man, Die, along with the critically acclaimed compilation Legendary Classics.  The latter included show-stealing collaborations and many of the storied tracks that fueled his rise, including the Jedi Mind Tricks song “Uncommon Valor”, on which the Rugged Man delivers what is widely recognized as one of the greatest verses in rap history.  By the time his last album Legends Never Die debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, R.A. was thoroughly established as an independent hip-hop icon, playing sold-out shows across the world and drawing widespread praise for his undeniable contributions to the culture.

Now, R.A. The Rugged Man is back with All My Heroes Are Dead, a brand new album that stands as his best work to date.  “So many of the greats are gone, and the legends who made it out alive are cast aside,” R.A. says.  “Society left our heroes and their culture for dead.  We have to dig that greatness out of its grave, and bring it back with an angry vengeance.”  While Legends Never Die was dedicated to the memory of his father, All My Heroes Are Dead is R.A.’s first album since becoming a father of two himself.  “When you have children, that’s a whole other level of joy and pain and emotion,” he describes. “It opens whole entire universes with the pen.” The music covers a wide range of moods, and transcends hip-hop cliches. “I didn’t want to make a whole album of just destroying rappers and rapping better than everyone.” the Rugged Man explains.  “There’s a lot of places my albums take you, and there’s way more storytelling on this one.  I love to bring listeners into different worlds.”  Now available worldwide, All My Heroes Are Dead features an all-star cast of hip-hop heavyweights, including Chuck DSlug of Atmosphere, Ghostface KillahImmortal TechniqueVinnie PazIce-TM.O.P.Kool G RapDJ Jazzy JeffOnyxBrand NubianChris RiversInspectah Deck, A-F-R-OMasta Killa, and more.  The highly-anticipated album showcases the full scope of R.A. The Rugged Man’s considerable talent, making it a powerful statement from an unforgettable artist.